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Harmony of the Law - Volume 3
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Numbers 8

Numbers 8:20-22

20. And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel, did to the Levites according unto all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did the children of Israel unto them.

20. Fecit itaque Moses et Aharon, et omnis congregatio filiorum Israel, de Levitis: secundum crania quae praeceperat Jehova Mosi de Levitis, sic feterunt illis filii Israel

21. And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the Lord; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.

21. Et purificaverunt sese Levitae, laveruntque vestimenta sua et obtulit Aharon filius oblationem coram Jehova, et expiavit eos Aharon, ut purificaret eos.

22. And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.

22. His peractis aggressi sunt Levitae fungi ministerio suo in tabernaculo conventionis coram Abaton, et coram filiis ejus: quemadmodum praeceperat Jehova Mosi de Levitis, sic fecerunt illis.

 

20. And Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation The Levites also are now inaugurated for the performance of their duties, but in their proper order, because their condition was inferior. Here it must be noted that the sons of Moses and their descendants were placed in this lower rank, and excluded from all expectation of the priesthood. Hence the ingratitude of the whole people, and especially of the tribe of Levi, was all the more base, when they presumptuously sought the honor from which Moses had shut out his children for ever. It was then no ordinary act of obedience in him to execute what God had appointed respecting the Levites. Aaron is here mentioned, because he consecrated the Levites in right of his priesthood. As regards the people, their consent is merely commended, because they agreed to what was the pleasure of God. But this virtue in them only increased their ignominy afterwards, when they sought to overthrow that divine decree of which they had approved.

21. And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes We have already spoken of the washing, for since it was required of all private individuals, much less would it be allowable for the Levites to handle the sacred things, unless they were first purified. But what follows as to their presentation by the hands of Aaron, was a shadowing forth by symbol of the truth, which at length shone out at the coming of Christ; for it had been of old predicted by the Prophets, that, in the renovation of the Church, those who had hitherto been but of the multitude should become Levites. Therefore, by this figure, God would declare that none even of His elect servants would be approved of and accepted by Him, unless sanctified by the one Priest. 415415     Addition in Fr., “Auquel ceste dignita a este commise;” to whom this dignity has been entrusted. And thence an atonement is joined with their offering, in order that the Levites might be pure.

22. And after that went the Levites in to do their service In these words Moses signifies that, in the type, nothing was omitted relative to the ancient priesthood which pertains to the legitimate service of God, the main point in which is obedience, and thence the purity which flows from it. The Levites are said to have done their service before Aaron, because they humbly submitted themselves to the yoke, and allowed themselves to be controlled by the will of the priest, since God had so enjoined. But the progress of the history will presently shew how prone man’s nature is to rebellion. Hence it arises that the end does not always correspond with the beginning, but that sad and unhappy conclusions sometimes follow successful commencements.


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